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The adventures in which we tan hides

 
Posts: 68
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
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 We like goats. A lot. They are wonderful multipurpose animals and are very intelligent and adaptable. There are so many reasons to have goats that I could not count them using rational numbers. Some of those innumerable reasons are the hides. But the hides are only one reason you say? Au contraire, the hides are as versatile as the goats themselves are. Leather can be utilized in so many ways and the furskins are soft and warm. But enough maundering and on to the fun!

  We butchered several goats and kept two of the hides with the intention of making furskins. By "we" I mean I stood there and tried to keep my breakfast down while someone else (Leora and professional instructors) did the work. One of the hides was from our buck and the other was given to us. We folded the hides fur side out, bagged and then froze them for a few weeks until we had time to process them.

  Processing is still ongoing but here's what we are doing. After both of us researching the different tanning methods we agreed to egg tan them. First the hides were thawed and scraped. Being the first time we have done this we tried a variety of knives and other tools on hand to scrape the flesh off. Turned out that some scrap pieces of J-channel worked the best. The buck hide was significantly more difficult than the wether hide and it took us most of the day to scrape both. Leora has an old pressure tank we stuck on a couple sawhorses and that worked really well as a surface to scrape against.

  Once scraping was done we spread the hides out and poured salt over them to pickle for a few days. The sources we looked at varied a lot in pickle method and timelines. We chose to salt directly and fold and roll the hides then bag them for a few days. After about three or four days we pulled them out and checked them. The wether hide was much softer and we scraped it again to remove as much of the remaining fleshy bits as we could. The buck hide was pickled longer and stayed tougher.

  The wether hide, once scraped clean, was rinsed to remove the excess salt, secured to a sheet of plywood to prevent shrinking and allowed to dry for several days. Once dry but not hard the tanning solution was applied and rubbed in. Leora mixed up egg yolks and olive oil as the tanning solution. The hide had to be misted with water and rubbed to get the egg to soak in as it had dried a bit too much. In the future adding water to the tanning mix would probably help as well. After the solution soaked in and the hide dried again it was removed from the board and stretched. The bottom edge of the old pressure tank worked well to stretch the hide. It was stretched several times until soft and dry.

  The buck hide was not egg tanned, instead we are trying the method of stretching as it dries to see if we like that method better. It is still an ongoing project and we look forward to posting more as we continue the project.
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Leora scraping the buckskin
Leora scraping the buckskin
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Rex scraping the wetherskin
Rex scraping the wetherskin
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Salting the hides for the pickle
Salting the hides for the pickle
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Chicken cleanup crew
Chicken cleanup crew
 
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Rex, thank you for sharing your adventure in which hides were tanned.

this sounds like fun and a worthwhile adventure.
 
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